As I mentioned in The Hours, taking care of myself as a breast cancer patient is time consuming. For example, I still need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. I walk an hour to an hour and a half nearly every day. My wheat allergy coupled with the diet I eat to help maintain good health means that I eat very little prepared or processed food. Cooking from scratch takes time. I still find myself in health providers offices 2-3 times per week. And I work for a living. Right now, I bill about 18 hours per week. Twenty hours per week is considered full-time for a private practice psychologist. I used to bill nearly twice that much but admittedly, that was pretty unhealthy. The way I explained it to my husband was, “Imagine that you lost four hours of every work day and had 2-3 doctors’ appointments every week.”

And it’s not just trying to find time for work. It’s trying to find time for a social life, to spend time with my husband, and to spend time with my daughter. I have been looking at what I can give up to free up my time. There are some things like blogging and walking that take time but I will not give them up. My blog writing ebbs and flows in frequency. When I have a lot of ideas, it is because I have a lot on my mind to process and it is helpful to write about it.

I stopped seeing my naturopathic oncologist several months ago. I follow continue to follow her recommendations. We had transitioned to a maintenance schedule, anyway. I was also on a maintenance schedule with my acupuncture appointments. I was getting them every three weeks, traveling to a different city to get them. I told her I wanted to see if things continue to go well and check back with her as needed. I have decided that I am done with reconstruction and have no scheduled appointments with my surgeon. This means that I have scaled back to medical oncology appointments every three months, onco-surgery follow-ups every six months, massage every three weeks (I have been doing that for 13 years to manage chronic pain and stress issues), an annual mammogram, an annual MRI, a yearly physical with my internist (I am now one month overdue), psychologist visits every 2-4 weeks, and a trip to the dentist twice per year. I am still figuring out how to work in a dermatology visit as well as a trip to the eye doctor.

I have also opened up more work time by working on the weekends. I don’t work more than an hour or two each day but I don’t really like to do that. Due to logistics, cutting back a little on my practice means cutting back too much, due to the number of hours each of my testing patients requires. So I’m stuck between working a little less than I want to, which is boring and strapping us for cash or to work a little more than I’d like to. I talked to my husband earlier in the week and told him that I wanted to try to build a week off into my schedule every quarter. Because he is awesome, he quickly told me that he thought it was a wonderful idea. So, I’ve already taken off a week for New Orleans and have a vacation coming up in the summer.

I am so grateful to have flexibility in working all of this out and I will keep working on it since my energy level and responsibilities are still somewhat of a moving target.